Handout: Vegan Baking Tips

vegan baking handoutNext to “where do you get your protein” the question I get most often is “what do you use instead of eggs?” (By the way, I address the protein question in Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions about Veganism and Plant Strong Crash Course.) So let’s talk about eggs… and milk, and butter for that matter. I have a neat little handout for you to use as a guide for your vegan baking – print it out and stick it on the fridge, or give a copy to your friend so he or she can bake for you. Dairy and egg replacement suggestions are on one side, and my Banana Bread French Toast Cupcake recipe is on the other!

Click here to download my Suck an Egg handout for free!

Posted in BLOG, DIY Downloads, Free Stuff, Tips & Tricks, Vegan | 1 comment

Over the Top Cookies for Colt Cabana

Over the Top cookies by Bake and DestroyNear the end of last week I received a text from CM Punk that read something like, “Hey, I know you’re old and stuff so it’s probably too late for you, but it’s Cabana’s birthday next week and we’re having a surprise party on Tuesday. We’re all going to yell ‘Over the Top!’ You should come if you can.”

I was so torn – on the one hand, I knew Punk was singing the 7th inning stretch at the Cubs game that day – which meant they wouldn’t even be back at his house until almost 11pm. I get up at 6am to get Teno ready for school. On the other hand, or rather, on my left leg, I have an Over the Top tattoo because it’s the greatest movie about arm wrestling, truck driving and the love between a father and son ever made.

“Gahh, I can’t make it,” I replied. “But I’ll bake. What would Colt like?” The answer? Over the Top cookies. Game on.

Lucky for me, I had just been stalking The Decorated Cookie, and was anxious to try some of the techniques for drawing on cookies and making homemade fondant. So I set aside some time (two days, to be exact,) and what you see above is what happened at the end of those two days.

The Cookies

chocolate sugar cookie First, I decided on 2.5″ square chocolate sugar cookies. Punk had suggested chocolate chip, but I was worried they’d be too soft to hold up to all of the insane things I was about to do to them. In hindsight, I should have gone with vanilla sugar. I covered these in a poured icing and the chocolate cookies showed through.

Poured Sugar Icing

I made the dough, chilled it for about 2 hours, then rolled it out and chilled it again. I cut the shapes quickly and baked them. Once they cooled, I coated 1/2 the batch in poured sugar icing which I tinted white. (Tinted, because I used soy milk, which can make white icing yellow.)

Like I mentioned, I should have made vanilla cookies, and I was pretty sad to see my white icing not covering the dark chocolate cookies properly. I made another batch of icing and tinted that one blue, figuring it could be the sky behind a semi or something. Blue worked better, but still wasn’t perfect.

Marshmallow Fondant

I let those set up overnight. The next day, I went to Great America and rode rollercoasters all day. Then I went to Steak n’ Shake and drank a Nutter Butter milkshake. After that, I came home and made a batch of marshmallow fondant. If you’ve never used fondant, it’s kind of like Play Doh except you can eat it. Store bought fondant tends to taste like ass, but I admit I did use store-bought black and skin tone because I wasn’t certain I could achieve those colors at home. But for all the other colors I needed, I used this recipe:

  • 4 cups mini marshmallows (I like Dandies vegan ‘mallows)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 pound confectioner’s sugar
  • vegetable shortening

arm wrestling cookiesGrease a microwave-safe bowl with vegetable shortening and lube up the paddle on your stand mixer while you’re at it. Add the marshmallows, water and vanilla to the greased bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, until the marshmallows start to puff and melt. Stir the mixture until it’s smooth and runny – you might need to zap it for a few more seconds to achieve this. Place the confectioner’s sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer, and add the marshmallow mixture to it. Beat on low until a round ball of dough forms. Knead the dough on a table dusted with confectioner’s sugar, wrap in plastic wrap and let it sit for about 30 minutes.

For each color I needed, a used about an egg-sized chunk of fondant. If you have food-safe gloves, now would be the time to put them on. Add a few drops of gel coloring (like Americolor) to the fondant, and knead it in. You’ll need a lot of coloring to make red, and if you want to make black, I recommend making modeling chocolate and tinting it black. Occasionally I had a hard time working the color in evenly, when this happened I’d nuke the wad of fondant for about 10 seconds, work in the color, and then let it cool and set up before rolling it out.

Bull Hurley-ification

Roll out the fondant, dusting your counter and rolling pin with confectioner’s sugar, and cut the shapes you need, or model shapes as if you were using Play Doh. For my South Park-like Bull Hurley cookies, I used a small round cookie cutter for the head, and a small square for his sleeveless Blaster shirt. I eyeballed the arms, and cut them with a pairing knife, and made his facial hair by rolling small pieces of black fondant just like Play Doh. His eyes were pre-made candy eyes I bought at the cake supply shop.

I should note that I also sketched my ideas before I got started, so I knew what colors to make and what shapes to cut out. I had some big plans to make semis and all kinds of things, but just as I was finishing my first 6 cookies, Teno came down with a gnarly fever and I literally finished the last 10 cookies in one hour. You can tell which ones I spend time on, but I hope Colt got a laugh out of all of them anyway.

Over the Top logo cookieI used food writers (markers with edible ink) to draw on facial details and other accents. For the arm wrestling cookies, I first cut a “w” shape and then used my fingers to reshape it into rounded elbows and clenched fists. I used the food writers to draw on fingers and tattoos.

At the end of day two I had 16 cookies, 6 of which I was super happy with, neatly stacked in a box and ready for Colt. But how could I get them to Punk’s house when I’m at work and he’s out of town? Solution: wrap the cookie box in plastic wrap, then in paper, and then hide it inside a shoe box and have Colt pick them up, and unwittingly deliver his own birthday cookies to his own surprise party! Genius.

Cookie Kayfabe

CM Punk Colt Cabana Cliff Compton Over the Top cookiesSo on Monday night at 7:30pm Colt rang my buzzer and made his way up to my apartment. I was already nervous he was going to ask me why he had to come all the way over just to bring Punk an unusually heavy pair of Nikes, so when the first thing he said to me was, “smells good, did you make cookies?” I basically crapped my pants. I stammered something about having a sore throat and spraying Chloraseptic, which made no sense, to which Colt replied, “No, it doesn’t smell like Chloraseptic, it smells like cookies.” Then he held up the box and said, “Maybe it’s this?”

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!! Then I just kind of shoved him out the door, thanking him for coming over and I immediately texted Punk a panicky text, which he ignored.

Anyway, for my first time 1) making fondant 2)using poured icing and 3) using food writers I thought they turned out kinda radical. I hope Colt liked them too, he’s a great guy with fantastic taste in movies.

Posted in BLOG, Cookies, Tips & Tricks | 7 comments

Tips for an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

I know it may come as a shock to some of you that a jerk like me actually cares about the environment, but I do. Think of it this way – caring about the planet is just another way to be disgusted with other people, which is one of my favorite things to do.

I am generally pretty lazy, and easily grossed out, so you’re not going to come to my house and find a compost pail. And, I am a city slicker so you will also not find a garden in my non-existent back yard (although you will find dog-sized rats and a gaggle of filthy-faced, totally unsupervised children playing with rocks).

What you will find, however, are some super simple ways I’ve found to cut back on the amount of stuff I throw away, the chemicals I was dump down my drain and the junk I  put into my body. So I thought I’d share what I found, and encourage you guys to share your simple eco-kitchen tips. Mine are baking-centric, but feel free to take your comments all over the kitchen.

reusable produce bagsOk first things first, you need to buy stuff to cook stuff. Most of my vegan friends will tell you that a meat-free, dairy-free diet (and baking grocery arsenal) is about as eco-friendly as it gets. Raising animals for food has a significant carbon footprint, there’s no denying it – so if you’re up for it, opting to not use animal products in your baking is a step in the right direction. Regardless of what you’re baking with it’s always a good idea to buy local and organic when ever you can. It is pricier in a lot of cases, so no one’s judging you if you can’t always do it, but organic foods are grown without chemicals, which is good for your guts and good for the planet. Oh, and while you’re shopping for those chemical-free odds and ends, don’t forget your reusable produce bags. Why bother trying to save the Earth if you’re stuffing your organic apples into a bunch of disposable produce bags?

Skoy- like paper towels, only not.

Skoy- like paper towels, only not.

Keeping a clean kitchen while you bake is kind of obvious, but doing it without going through a bunch of paper towels can be tricky. I’ve cut back on my paper towel usage a lot recently by keeping some Skoy cloths on hand. The 4-color pack is ideal for the kitchen because you can designate different colors for different jobs to prevent cross-contamination. They’re machine washable, dishwasher safe, and they dry really quickly so they don’t get germy or stinky. If you want to zap bacteria just microwave it for a few seconds and once you’ve worn one out, it’s completely biodegradable. Obviously you can’t use these in the same way in a commercial kitchen due to health code regulations, but recycled paper towels are a good second choice.

Lovely papers from

Lovely papers from

I’ve posted in the past about the basic stuff all bakers should have so I’m not going to re-cover all of that, but I will update that info with some reusable and eco-friendly options you might want to look into. Cupcake papers are a must, and if you’ve been reading my blog at all you know that I am horribly addicted to expensive, colorful ones. Listen, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke and I don’t eat meat – if the one shitty thing I ever do is buy beautiful cupcake papers I think I’m still on the right track. In my defense, paper cupcake wrappers are technically recyclable and in many cases, they are biodegradable. However, you can buy unbleached baking cups that are a bit better than the bleached and dyed versions I love so much. If you’re just baking at home and not really giving your cupcakes away, you could go with reusable silicone baking cups. I know they’re a good idea, but they always come in horrible colors and I tend to gift my cupcakes so they don’t quite work for me.

The coolest, most boring thing ever.

The coolest, most boring thing ever.

Enough about cups – let’s talk about batter and frosting. I admit to being a former disposable pastry bag user. They just seemed easier to deal with – but actually, I was being lazy. Get yourself a few piping bags. Now the worst part about using reusable piping bags is trying to dry them. Oh! But wait, here’s an ingenious idea that I’ve shared with more than one of you in the past – a bag and bottle dryer. You can use this handy guy to dry your reusable bottles, reusable snack & sandwich bags and also to dry your pastry bags!

A sustainable path for plastic containers.

A sustainable path for plastic containers.

Wooden spoons and mixing bowls, luckily, have not yet become disposable. But there are a few options out there for those of you who are looking to make your baking more sustainable. On the mixing bowl tip, there are these brightly-colored Preserve nested mixing bowls. Preserve products are made with 100% recycled (and recyclable) #5 plastic – which is non-leaching and BPA-free. Here’s the thing about recycling – it only works when you actually BUY things made from recycled materials.  So things like this are a really smart way to help contribute to that sustainable cycle. I recently replaced my splintered old wooden spoons (and other utensils) with bamboo. Bamboo is an organic, fast-growing grass that actually generates more oxygen than trees. Plus, it naturally contains an anti-bacterial agent so you don’t have to use harsh chemicals when you’re cleaning it.

non-stick reusable baking mat

Probably one of the biggest waste-savers I’ve added to my kitchen is a silicone baking mat. It’s neither fun nor sexy, but it’s pretty much eliminated the need for parchment paper in my baking. Plus, I can just wipe off the mat instead of washing my whole cookie sheet so I use less water and soap.

This stuff is just the tip of the iceberg, you guys, but I’ve made a noticeable dent in how much crap I throw away and saved enough money on disposables to make buying this stuff well-worth it!

What do you do to make your kitchen more eco-friendly?

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Posted in BLOG, Tips & Tricks | 13 comments

DIY Shark Attack Cupcake Toppers

Here’s a quick and easy way to make your cupcakes sweet, but not precious. Whether you’re playing tribute to Jaws or a certain hardcore band, no one will forget your Shark Attack Cupcakes.

I like to bake my Shark Attack cupcakes in bright red baking cups from Bake It Pretty – any flavor will do, but red velvet is particularly gory. (I use Super Red by AmeriColor for the truest color.) I top my cupcakes with a white buttercream – cream cheese frosting is great on red velvet – then I spray the tops with blue food color spray.

Drag a toothpick through the icing, creating realistic white caps. Cut out my DIY Shark Attack cupcake toppers, and tape or glue them to toothpicks. Pop them in your cupcakes when you’re ready to serve them (the grease from your frosting will creep up on the fins, so really wait until you’re showing these off for this step.)

“Smile you son of a bitch.”

Posted in BLOG, DIY Downloads, Free Stuff, Tips & Tricks | 4 comments

Begin at the Beginning

I’ve been fielding a TON of emails from new readers- which is totally exciting and also really embarrassing because I’ve been such a sloth about updating poor old Bake and Destroy. Most of the e-mails are “I just started baking from scratch” questions- things like, what should I always have in my pantry and how can I do this without spending too much money? People, these questions are exactly how I got started baking and destroying! I love cake, I love making cake, but I don’t have very much time or patience and my attention span has taught me not to invest too much money in any of my hobbies. Remember when I was scrapbooking? Yeah, me either. But I have a few hundred dollars worth of crap that says I was pretty into it for a while. So this one’s for my new readers: a beginner’s manual. Long-time readers, don’t space out on me. I need your help. I’m sure I’m forgetting things, and I’m sure my opinions on where priorities lie are going to differ from yours. Leave comments, help out some new bakers! It wasn’t so long ago you were frosting your cupcakes with a butter knife yourself.

Ok, first let’s talk about money. It’s really easy to spend a fortune on baking and decorating equipment – take it from the girl who’s addicted to Confectionery House’s $4 cupcake papers. Easy, but not necessary. We would all prefer to bake with all organic, locally-grown ingredients, and who doesn’t soak in the bathtub paging through the King Arthur Flour catalog like it’s the latest issue of your dad’s Playboy? But the fact is, if you aren’t charging a premium for your baked goods (meaning you’re baking for friends and family) it’s OK to use whatever flour is on sale and no one’s going to question your choosing Trader Joe’s chocolate chips over some shmancy mail order catalog brand. That being said, in baking, you get out of it what you put in. If you’re putting artificial vanilla and using cut-rate pans you’re going to get crap. So I can think of four key places to spend your money – extracts, spices, pans and produce.

29 years of baking & destroying

Extracts: No baker should ever be without vanilla. Not vanillin, not artificial vanilla flavoring – just vanilla. It might be tempting to buy the $3 bottle in the grocery store, but resist the urge. This is a key component of your dessert and believe me, it’s money well-spent. Look for pure vanilla and don’t bother with your grocery store unless it happens carry gourmet baking ingredients. Check out places like Penzeys Spices or Sur la Table for affordable quality options. I picked up a trick from Cassie from How to Eat a Cupcake (expert bargain baker if ever there was one) – check out the edible gift isle at discount merchants like TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. Often times they have big bottles of Crushed Vanilla Bean Extract for like, $12. (Almond extract and citrus oils, too.) If you travel, or have parents who do (like I do) ask them to bring you high-quality vanilla if they happen to be headed to somewhere with fabulous vanilla- Madagascar, Mexico, Tahiti, etc.

Keep your standards high on all of your extracts and oils- don’t use artificial unless it’s entirely necessary (I have maple flavoring in my cupboard, for example, because real maple syrup isn’t as potent and it adds more sugar then I want to my recipes.) I’ll get to which extracts you cannot bake without in a bit.

Spices: Here’s another area where it’s tempting to grab whatever you can get at the grocery store, but where you’ll be greatly rewarded for your efforts and extra expense once you taste your wares. Find a spice merchant in your area and buy high-quality baking spices. If you don’t have a local spice merchant, get online and order these things from the best store you can afford. I’m just as bitchy and controlling as Martha, but I don’t have her money, so I top out at Penzey’s. You can still blow your budget here if you really want to, but I’ve found their cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, ginger and other baking spices to be flavorful and well-worth dragging Teno to a place full of things he’s bound to break. They sell whole spices, too, so you can grind them as you need them.

Pans: I by no means have the greatest baking equipment. In fact, I have no clue where I even bought any of the pans I own. But I know I’ve bought some shitty ones because they were cheap and regretted it. This is where I put you in the hands of my readers, because I’m too lazy to do research in this area. When I need a pan I tell Tony what I want, he gets on weird, nerdy forums, does a bunch of comparison shopping online and a few days later, my new pan arrives in the mail. But I will say it’s helpful to have multiples- at least 2 muffin pans, 4 cookie sheets, etc. I’ll get to that later.Produce: OK, I did say that you don’t have to spend a ton on your ingredients, but if your key ingredients involve fresh produce, make sure you’re buying things that are in-season and perfectly ripe. If you’re using zest, buy organic; if you’re baking with nuts, buy them whole and in small quantities so the oils don’t go rancid. People might not notice off-brand sugar, but they’re going to know an old walnut when they bite into it, and they aren’t going to like it.
So now you know what you don’t have to spend a ton of money to bake, but you do have to spend a little. While you have your credit card out, let’s talk about some other things you’re going to want to invest in if you’re going to earn the right to a Cupcake Provocateur apron.

Basic equipment:
This really depends on what you bake. Me? I make cupcakes, muffins, donuts, cookies, and candy but not too many whole cakes or chocolates. What I consider basic equipment should cover you if you plan on making cookies, cupcakes, muffins and basic cakes. (I’ve added links to products I’ve had good luck with, feel free to talk about your favorites in the comments!)

  • Electric hand-held mixer – Good luck making cream cheese frosting without one.
  • Whisk- Necessary for delicate mixing, and doubles as a sifter in a pinch.
  • Measuring devices- you’ll need cups, spoons, a liquid measure and possibly a measure for sticky stuff like peanut butter. Make sure your set includes a 2/3 cup, 1/4 cup, 1/4 tsp and 1/8 tsp measure.
  • Mixing bowls- I have two sets of three with spouts for easy batter-pouring, but I got by with one set of three for the first two years I was baking on a weekly basis.
  • Wooden spoons- for mixing, and beating your children. (Not really, unless you want to raise serial killers.)
  • Heat-proof rubber spatula- Nothing scrapes a bowl like a rubber spatula, but make it heat-proof in case you also use it to stir your hot ganache.
  • Cupcake papers- you can get them on the cheap at your local grocery store. You’ll know you’re really a baker when this is no longer good enough for you and you find yourself explaining $75 charges for a shoebox-sized delivery of cupcake papers to your husband.
  • Pans- to start, you should get a muffin pan, some cookie sheets, a 9″ round cake pan, a 9′x11″ sheet cake pan, a 8″ or 9″ square pan, and a wire cooking rack.
  • Oven mitts- seems like common sense, yet I know people who do not own them.
  • Oven thermometer- Do not trust your oven, it’s a filthy liar and this item will prove it.
  • Offset spatula- Makes frosting neat and easy, forget the butter knife.

Not as basic equipment:

Bake Sale Ninja

Bake Sale Ninja


This stuff is by no means “advanced” equipment. You won’t find any blow torches or chocolate molds here, but it’s stuff you don’t need right out of the gate. Pick these things up after you’ve been baking long enough to know your buttercream from your swiss meringue.

  • Candy thermometer- You need this to make marshmallows, caramel, and any other treats that require cooked sugar.
  • Pastry bags and tips- Figure out what you need, realistically. You can always buy more. I bought over 100 tips three years ago and I use about 10 of them. For big, beautiful swirls on cupcakes buy a big open star tip. I get that question a lot- actually, if you see something you love, ask the decorator what tip they used to achieve the look. Unless they’re a total asshole, they’ll tell you. I go back and forth about pastry bags. The lazy pile in me likes disposable, but the bleeding heart in me likes reusable. If you lean toward reusables, pick up one of these bag and bottle dryers, they make drying your pastry bags a lot less annoying.
  • Stand mixer- I rarely use my stand mixer, to be perfectly honest. I love it for buttercream, bread making and for whipping marshmallows but I never, ever put my cake batter in there unless the recipe specifically calls for it. It’s way too easy to over-mix your batter and get tough, chewy cakes with a stand mixer. That being said, wanting a stand mixer was the closest thing to penis envy I have ever experienced. I lusted after this heavy piece of machinery- this big, solid, powerful mixer that takes up way too much room on my counter top and tells my house guests “I beat the Christ outta some stuff in this bad mother” until I got one. Then when I got it, I wanted the bigger one. Now that I have the biggest Kitchenaid, with the biggest bowl and the most attachments and horsepower I want a full-on Hobart mixer like we had at Letizia’s. I want the bowl to be so heavy I can’t lift it by myself. I want to be able to lose an arm in there. Some women wish for breast implants, this is my sick and unnecessary desire. (You can get a deal on a refurb on he Kitchenaid website!)
  • Sifter- this might be a level one basic, but if you have a whisk that’ll do until you make it out to buy a sifter. Most dry ingredients come pre-sifted these days, but I don’t sift to make sure there aren’t any lumps or rocks in my flour as much as I do to add a little air to the dry ingredients, and to make sure they’re well-incorporated. You also can’t really bake with powdered cocoa unless you sift it, it’s made of lumpy evil.
  • More pans- By now you might find yourself wanting to make mini-cupcakes or a cheese cake. Welcome to level two. Pick up a mini muffin pan, a spring form pan, a jelly roll pan and whatever size cake pans you find yourself wanting. Once you’re bored enough, you might move on to donut and canoe pans (for making Twinkie-like items.)

I wrote a blog a while back with some more advice… now get baking! If it was hard to do, someone as pretty as me wouldn’t be any good at it (that was a joke, I hope you knew that before I told you). I believe in you. Of course, I also believe in unicorns, so check your smoke alarms and good luck to you.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Posted in BLOG, Tips & Tricks | 16 comments

Earl Grey Cupcakes and Filled Cupcakes

pink cupcake

Originally uploaded by Bake & Destroy!

I am adrift in a sea of homework, barely able to reach the surface long enough to breathe, eat a real meal or gasp-blog. I graduated almost a month ago, but I’m finishing my last few credits over the summer semester and it’s the craziest school has ever been in my entire student career. I’m taking nutrition, which is really fun, but it’s a five-week course with 15-weeks worth of information and work packed in. I had my first quiz Monday and my midterm Wednesday, to give you an idea. I also have a research paper to do on the nutrition of another culture and a final project for which I decided to make a video about the nutritional ups and downs of cupcakes. I thought that would be fun and somewhat easy, but quickly learned that it’s actually the hardest thing on earth. Sorry cancer doctors, trying to make cupcakes nutritious is actually way, way harder than your job.

I am also taking a photography class, which so far hasn’t done much more than prove to me that 1) I am obsessed with food and 2) I never leave my house. All of my pictures are of things I ate and/or things in my house. I like the class, I just don’t so much like realizing I have some kind of eating disorder and an incredibly boring life.

My final class is PR Writing, which I love and hate almost as much as I love and hate green tea. I love PR, you basically get to make stuff up and act like every thing’s way better than it really is. I always wanted to take a creative non-fiction class and this is as close as I’m getting until I go for my Master’s. And yet, it is also a five-week course with months and months worth of homework, tests and lessons packed in, none of which I can do until after 8 pm when Teno is asleep. Oh, and my internship on Time Out Chicago’s Eating and Drinking guide starts next week. I’m super excited and completely nervous. Oh, if you could see the things this internship is doing to my digestive system already… (That one is for Tony who is totally unphased by my poop talk at this point in our marriage. Aww.)

So my hair is falling out in clumps. I wish that were part of my new career in lying (PR) but it’s sadly, disgustingly true. My student loan has yet to come through, I need to get a job- in journalism- and I don’t think I’ll ever be done with homework, even after I’m dead.

Oh, and I’m also baking and baking and baking and barely, just barely enjoying it at all. Last week end I baked close to 300 cupcakes for a bat mitzvah and somehow got it all done in about three hours. What? I don’t know, dude. I just did it. The menu was lemon yogurt with ginger cream cheese, cookies and cream with chocolate frosting, banana with chocolate buttercream, Earl grey with lemon buttercream and pinacolada with coconut cream cheese.

I wasn’t going to post the Earl grey recipe because I haven’t had time to mess around with it and get it exactly the way I like it, but I got a lot of requests after posting the pictures so use it at your own risk. I also got a lot of requests to share the recipe for the pink cupcake at the top of this entry, a vegan lemon cupcake with lemon buttercream filled with raspberry preserve so quickly, I’m going to give you that one a well.

Earl Grey Cupcakes from Julie Hasson’s 125 Best Cupcake Recipes

These are for grown ups, I’d say, unless your kids are super, super weird or English. Actually, I don’t even know if most grown ups would be into these. Let’s say these are for chicks. Chicks will eat almost anything in cupcake form.

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Earl Grey tea bas or 1 Tbs loose tea
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 Tbs unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 tsp rated orange zest
  • 1/4 tsp orange oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Then you:

Preheat your oven to 350 and line a pan with paper liners. In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Using whatever method works for you- spice grinder, primitive smashing and grinding action, etc.- grind the contents of the tea bags and add to flour mixture.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until well combined. Add egg whites one at a time and beat well after each addition. Add zest and oil, beating until smooth. Alternately beat in the flour mixture and buttermilk, beat until smooth. Pour batter into pan and bake 20-25 minutes or until tops spring back with lightly touched. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then cool completely on wire rack.

I frosted mine with lemon buttercream, but next time I’d take Julie Hasson’s advice and do an orange cream cheese.

Ok, next!

To make the big pink, raspberry-filled cupcakes I just used this recipe for lemon cake and used this tip to squeeze in some raspberry preserves. Then I ate one, gave Teno one, gave Jo five, packed some up for Teno and Bishop for the next day, watched about a million episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine, made dinner, gave Teno a bath, did homework, went to bed and went to school. Oh, and I also went to the stupid, boring Field Museum of Natural Stupid Boring History and looked at old corn and stuff for my research paper.

My friend Hillary made me cupcakes, did I tell you that? No one ever makes me cupcakes. Thanks, Hillary!

Posted in BLOG, Cupcakes, Failures, Tips & Tricks | 10 comments